“We need content, lots of content! Quick, everyone, produce content now. Content is what we need! And social media, we need social media, Goddammit!”
That’s a fairly typical strategy from a business that decides to dip its toe into the scary world of content marketing and it’s doomed to fail.
Running content marketing agency, Juggling Swords, I speak to a lot of companies who now know that they should be producing content but the lack of planning and slapdash approach to the execution usually results in failure… which results in businesses giving up.
Attitudes to content marketing and digital marketing are changing. Most SMEs that we talk to understand that they should be engaging with their customers and potential customers with quality content. That’s a good thing because it works.
It wasn’t that long ago that most of the businesses we spoke to didn’t even know what content marketing was, nevermind see the value in using it.
That enthusiasm is great but it needs to be harnessed and tempered in a way that actually delivers results.
Lots of businesses tell us they’re blogging all the time and getting everyone involved in content creation but it isn’t working for them.
So, we’ve outlined five points that every business must consider before the sparks are flying off fingers as they joylessly belt out another blog about their latest stocktake (please don’t blog about our stocktake).
As with most things, you’re not going to succeed without a plan. You must pay serious thought to your content plan and think logically about how you’ll execute it. How often will you create and publish content? Will you blog twice a week?
Who’s going to create this content? What collateral do you need? Will stock images suffice or do you need to hire a photographer? What’s your editorial angle? How will you promote it?
A broad plan of how you’ll execute your content marketing is essential. Spend time creating it and use it as your content bible. Make sure everyone who will be creating content in your business has a copy of the plan and uses it!
For content marketing to really succeed, your company needs a consistent tone of voice. We spend a long time researching and trialling tones for our clients before we settle on a tone of voice.
The best way to do it is to know your customers. Do they expect you to be the voice of authority, or entertaining? Do they want to learn from you or just hear what you’re up to? It’s different for every business. There’s no point creating content that your potential customers and existing customers are not interested in.
Content marketing won’t work for you if you’re strategy is ‘If you build it, they will come’. That only worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams. Once you’ve created your awesome content, you need to promote it. How? Well, here’s where social media is invaluable. Your social media following are a captive audience. They follow you because they have an interest in your business, at least on some level so engage them with your content.
Content is only engaging if it resonates with your audience. But who is your audience? It goes back to what we said about knowing your customer or potential customer. Once you know that, you know your audience. Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. It’s a waste of time, which you don’t have.
Content marketing, digital marketing and blogging takes time. It’s not a silver bullet solution. You have to be committed to it and accept that the benefits of it will come slowly, unless you happen to hit the jackpot with viral content.
* There is no cash prize. Idiot.